OPPOSE HB 1568: Allowing over-the-counter access to contraceptives


HB 1568 would allow for pharmacists to prescribe and dispense contraceptives over-the-counter. This would allow patients to receive contraceptives on demand without a prescription from their doctor. This includes both hormonal contraceptive patches and oral hormonal contraceptives which are self-administered. The bill’s definition of contraceptives relies upon the FDA’s standards. Any pharmacist can be approved to prescribe contraceptives under this legislation as long as they complete a training program designed by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy. Pharmacists are also barred from requiring patients to schedule an appointment with them to obtain the contraceptives. 


The decision to take hormonal contraceptives is much too serious to allow such medications to be prescribed over-the-counter by pharmacists. Women need to consult with their personal doctors on this matter, having the opportunity to be fully informed by someone who has a relationship with them. Doctors know the health history of their patients and the details of birth control, including its risks, making them a necessary party in this decision. Hormonal birth control is known to potentially cause several harmful side effects, such as increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. It can also lead to elevated risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. It is vital that women have the approval of their doctors on this matter, to make sure that taking hormonal contraceptives is safe for them.

Furthermore, allowing contraceptives to be dispensed over-the-counter makes it much more likely that drugs which actually cause abortions will be more easily accessible to the public. In the past, the FDA has classified some abortion-inducing drugs as merely contraceptives, claiming they simply prevent pregnancy when evidence shows that they can also end a human life after it has begun. In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade’s overruling, abortion activists are increasingly looking to pharmacies and supposed methods of easier contraception access to make abortifacients more accessible, including in states with pro-life laws like Indiana. 


Our state must not allow hormonal contraceptives to be treated like any simple over-the-counter medication, as this leaves the door open to a myriad of health risks for women and a decrease in overall standards which may allow abortion-inducing drugs to become more available. The doctor-patient relationship through which contraception has always been made available in Indiana is a vital bulwark against the increasing amount of abortion-inducing drugs sold on dark corners of the internet and in states will policies favoring abortion. As shown by the pro-life legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2022, we are a pro-life state. We must not allow the progress that has been made for the unborn to be rolled back by clever tricks of the pro-abortion movement, but must continue to fight for the right of every unborn child to be protected in the womb.

IFI opposes HB 1568.